What they do
Sheet metal workers use drawings and specifications to determine materials and tools needed to fabricate various products. They work with thin sheet metal such as steel, aluminium, copper or brass. They use a variety of hand and power tools to cut, shape, bend and join the sheet metal to form the final product. They may use hammers, grinders or cutting torches to cut and shape the material; then join using bolts, rivets or welding. They may also be involved in finishing the final product by filing or polishing. Increasingly they are involved in the setting up and use of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines.
Specialisations include: Metal Spinner, Sheetmetal Patternmaker
Sheet metal workers may work in an environment that is hot, noisy and dusty, usually in a workshop or production area. They must be safety-conscious and will usually have to wear protective clothing and equipment. They may be required to stand all day, or work in confined spaces or at heights.
Sheet metal workers work 38 hours per week; this could be normal hours or shift work. If employed by a mining company, for example in the Pilbara, they may work on a Fly In/Fly Out basis.
Tools and technologies
Sheet metal workers need to become proficient with hand and power tools relevant to the trade. They may also be involved in the programming, setting up and use of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a sheetmetal trades worker you usually need to undertake an engineering tradesperson fabrication (sheetmetal) apprenticeship.
The apprenticeship usually takes 42 to 48 months to complete, and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing